New York, New Psalm

Dark Faith, edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, is one of the newer anthologies put out by Apex Publications. It features 26 short stories and five poems that attempt to tackle the intricacies of faith. I haven’t read much of it, and as it is with most anthologies, I won’t finish it all at once; but I look forward to slowly picking its bones clean.

The first story in Dark Faith is “Ghosts of New York,” by Jennifer Pelland. I will sing praise for this woman until its borderline creepy. (I’m harmless, I assure you.) Her anthology Unwelcome Bodies is one of the best I’ve ever read. Sure, some stories didn’t blow me away, but many floored me. Read “The Last Stand of the Elephant Man,” and you’ll understand. “Ghosts of New York” is not equal to that tale, but it is quite good.

The story revolves around the World Trade Center tragedy, particularly the ghosts of the jumpers, those victims that chose not to perish in fire or the collapse of either tower. The ghosts are forced to relive the terrifying free fall and final impact over and over again. It’s a heart-wrenching tale, one of horror, tragedy, and discovery. And its beautifully written.

Since originally writing this for my blog some months ago, “Ghosts of New York” has been chosen as a Nebula finalist. In celebration of this, Apex has put the story online for free. You can read the haunting tale here.

Next up in Dark Faith is Brian Keene’s “I Sing a New Psalm.” My first experience with Keene’s writing was his short story collection Fear of Gravity. I wasn’t blown away. I loved the final story, “The Garden Where My Rain Grows,” it more than lived up to the praise bestowed upon him, but the other stories just didn’t have the same impact with me. Decent, but maybe my expectations were too high. “I Sing a New Psalm,” however, is a very good tale if a bit obvious.

The story is told in 44 short bursts and follows a man of uncertain faith through his ultimate acceptance and subsequent denial of God. It’s a story that explores the puzzling contradiction of cruelty and selfishness from a so-called loving, omniscient god. Something we’ve all questioned. Keene does it justice.

Though I haven’t read it completely, Dark Faith is worth buying. Anything Apex puts out is worth buying. Dig it!

About K. Allen Wood

K. Allen Wood is the editor/publisher of Shock Totem. For more info, visit his website at
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7 Responses to New York, New Psalm

  1. Reading it now and couldn’t agree more. Hopefully they publish a follow-up volume.

  2. John Boden says:

    I need to pick this up…it has “Hush” by Kelly Barnhill in it. Sigh.

  3. Haha.

    For those that don’t know, we rejected “Hush” long ago. It’s a very surreal story, so of course our resident weirdo, John Boden, loved it. And he won’t let it go. =)

    Of course, I understand his sadness. I loved “The Work of Clocks,” by Jonathan J. Schlosser, and the rest of those Shock Totem assholes didn’t like it. Haha!

    It sucks really wanting a story that no one else likes it or not enough people like (each story accepted for Shock Totem must have three “yes” votes).

  4. John Boden says:

    I cannot believe you called me a weirdo.

  5. This also illustrates how little rejection matters. We rejected it, Apex did not. And I’ve seen other stories we rejected show up in other great mags. Like Shroud, for instance.

    Necrotic Tissue rejected my story “Goddamn Electric,” which was then picked up by Jason Sizemore for the upcoming Zombie Feed antho. So rejection doesn’t matter, really. It does suck at the time, though. Haha.

  6. I use “weirdo” in a very respectful, loving way.

  7. I would just like to announce that I am now officially in love with John Boden. Cheers, John!

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